South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.

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Pre Race Jitters

I have to be completely honest with you. I usually never get pre race jitters. I am either really excited or anxious to start a race because I’m focused. I know I have trained and I will give each race everything I’ve got. This time is completely different. This is my start of a come back from a injury that has kept me out of work for almost a month. I keep telling myself this run is for me and this is just the start of my comeback.

Tomorrow I will attempt to jog ten miles. The most I have ran/jogged since my injury has been a mile and a half. The distance I’m not so concerned about, but how my ankle will hold up does have me nervous. I’m not only thinking about myself, but the road conditions, the surrounding crowd of runners, and how aware and in tune to myself I honestly need to be. Last weekend I was cleared to ride my bike again. I had planned a metric century, but because this was my first ride post injury I was only able to complete 40 of those miles before pain set in. Even though I was happy to be on my bike once again, it as made me even more determined for what my future rides and racing times should be.74974722159b748e447fdb882090e699

Last weekend’s bike ride has given me hope that I will be able to complete this ten miler. I’m going into this race with a completely different approach and attitude. When I run, its always me trying to beat my previous time, race the best that I can and finish strong. This time, this race is for fun, its for me to prove to myself my true potential. I’m not worried about what time I finish in, it’s about completing this race and finding the joy and passion running gives me that I have been missing. I have whined and complained to my family and friends this past month about how much I miss running and I can’t wait to start running again. Well, slow and steady for the comeback, because this is going to be an awesome start to my new goals I will share with everyone in the (near) future.

I’m going to enjoy this run one mile at a time!



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Racing Weight

As I’ve become more and more invested in my running and racing I’ve felt the need to educate myself. Everything I’ve learn has been self taught for the most part so please don’t use what I say as the end all be all. I’ve read books, magazines that focus on fitness, and have talked with many other athletes and trainers-we are by no means professionals.  d6fbe7ddae9c75e077db51f6e908f39a

In the last few years I would say I have taken my training to the next level where I compare my race times to previous times, consider my age bracket and where I place, and really have become concerned about my food as fuel. After running the Philadelphia marathon at what I considered was a “comfortable” pace for myself without pushing myself at all I finished in 4:18. To say I was impressed with myself would be an understatement. I followed a strict training schedule and overall ate healthy and restricted myself to having minimum alcoholic beverages.  After that race I realized I wasn’t pushing myself to my full potential. I set new goals. Quicker times and hard races that I plan to work up to- it doesn’t happen over night.

I picked up a book, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I’m only about a quarter through and I’ve already have learned so much while solidifing some ideas I had about how to fuel when training. 51fqplNG5lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_One thing I am focused on right now in the reading is high and low quality foods. Fitzgerald developed the Diet Quality Score Calculator or DQS. This gives points to higher quality foods such as fruits and veggies, lean meats, and multi/whole grains. It deducts points for foods that are fatty, high in sugar, or highly processed. You do not need to reach a specific number because every person is different in how much or how little they may eat. If you end up with a negative number you just aren’t eating well.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect at following this, but I like the idea of having this structure. I have days I eat plenty of junk-who doesn’t love some crispy French fries or ice cream now and then. Just trying to keep it to a minimum!

Fitzgerald includes 6 main steps in his book for endurance athletes to follow: improve diet quality, manage appetite, balance energy sources, monitor yourself, time nutrition, and train right. Since I haven’t gotten through the entire book yet I will have more information to share with you later on more of the steps.


In the very first chapter I had interesting read about the different body structures of athletes body types depending on what type of sport he/she competes in. Runners tend to be light and skinny, but cyclists having more muscular legs, but a triathlete is a hybrid between the swimmer/cyclist/runner. Fitzgerald explained that the triathlete body type is really its own special body type of lean composition. He even mentioned shorter triathletes do quiet well (Yay-I’m only 5’4”)! Overall this type of athlete needs to have lean body composition.

Back to reading!




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Rest & Recovery

I had a great weekend workout and it just flowed right into the week. I almost forgot to squeeze in time for rest day. Good thing today I had to work my part time job today, forcing me to take time out of my workouts. Instead on going on a run, cycling, or swimming, I walked most of center city Philadelphia. From where I live to the closest subway stop is just about a mile away. Then a few errands after work which took me back toward my house allowed me to walk all the way home! Perfect way to stretch out my muscles and enjoy the nice weather we are having in the city.

95bcb40df2013d29c367d020fb4e6ea7As much as I don’t always like to take time for R&R its important! Our bodies need the time to recover from training to allow us to become faster and stronger.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat well, hydrate, and get rest. These things can really make such a huge difference in your training and performance when it comes to race day. Rest day can be a struggle, but its the key to help from preventing injury, restoring glycogen (storage of energy), and prevents mental burn outs! There have been plenty of times where I struggle to give myself the time off and I usually get upset with myself when I do take the time off, but you really have to listen to your body.

Tomorrow I’m planning on getting atleast a 6-7 mile run in. I have a 10 miler race the beginning of May, but I want to keep my milage up. I’ve already been running 10 miles so I don’t want to burn out, but build on my foundation and work on my speed.  I’ve started to research different training plans that allows for triathlons, but high milage even though my tri races are sprints. I want to condition my body for longer races and bike rides. Follow my crazy journey between work and school!


Tomorrow I rise and run!



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Hot Chocolate 15k-Philly

It’s important for me to write this today as I crossed the finish line at 9:24 am. This morning as I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am I was thinking to myself, yes I might be a little bit crazy, but I love every second of it. Breakfast consisted of toast with peanut butter and a few slices of banana on top with a cup of coffee. My normal routine when going out for a long run.


I checked the weather and kept debating on what I would wear to the race. My Mom who was also running with me had an array of choices with her. Jacket, long sleeves, short sleeves, or tank top. Well the tank top and short sleeve got ruled out. Eventually we both settled on long sleeve running shirts with a thin jacket over top. We took uber over to the Philadelphia Art Museum where the race starts and finishes. Since it poured yesterday the grassy areas completely turned to mud. After dropping of my bag at the gear tent we went to try to get warm in the merchandise tent. Only to cave in to buying a thin pair of gloves because we were much colder than we thought we would be.

8am start time, we are in our corral about 5 minutes prior. And finally we are off. 9.3 miles to conquer. Two years ago I ran this same race in Philadelphia and it was super windy. The course is pretty flat for the most part and its what runners call an out and back. You run out about 5.5 miles and there is a turn around point where you re-run your exact same path to get to the finish.  Two years ago my pace was a 9:04 min/mile finishing in 1:24. I decided I would be happy with anything under that. I wanted to see some improvement.

I felt pretty confident with the milage as my last long run was 10.2 and I had some great workouts during the week and overall I felt stronger. As I started the race I wanted to pace myself. I have a tendency to go fast in the beginning and then lose steam toward the end of a race. I found myself running with the 9 min/mile pacer and feeling like this is way too slow. So I decided to move along. Ahead of me I could see the 8:30 pacer and thought…ugh can I really keep this up for 9.3 miles? Am I really ready for that? Self doubt crept in. 3 miles passed and still the 8:30 pacer was about a foot in front of me. Little do you know, but I usually listen to some crazy gangsta rap while I run. LOL! Yes you read that correctly. So focused on my motivation and with my music blasting I just kept running. By the time I was passing mile 5 the elite runners were passing us to head to the finish. These elite runner are just incredible. The top 10 all were running under a 6 min/mile!!!

At mile 7 I really stepped up my pace. I was now running shoulder to shoulder with the pacer. This guy had some great energy. It was definitely a huge help. The pacer was so encouraging to everyone running with him and we all talked about the chocolate we were looking forward to at the end of the race. At mile 8 I was able to pull ahead of the pacer. I kept focus on my breathing and pace. Not once did I look at my Garmin as I didn’t want to know. Getting closer and closer to the finish, I just thought to myself, you can not lose this momentum. You have come this far and the pacer is right behind you. Finally, rounding the corner and the finish was in front of me. 8:24 min/mile with a finish time of 1:18.

Goal accomplished.